The Cyclops label has long been the home of many of the UK's up-and coming neo-prog bands, but rarely do instrumental outfits get represented on their rather large roster. Sphere3 however breaks the Cyclops norm with their brilliant new album, titled Comeuppance, an all-instrumental recording filled with fiery fusion, symphonic prog, and dashes of prog-metal. This formidable four-piece has all the chops, as well as great songwriting skills, which results in a melodic feast of tight and vibrant songs.
Keyboard player Neil Durant is quite the find, as he alternates from blistering synth solos to majestic jazz piano breaks to walls of ominous Mellotron. His duels with guitarist Steve Anderson on the fusion ripper "A Good Example of Arbitrary Presumption" are a pleasure to hear, and his insistant organ fuels the tasty guitar licks on the upbeat "Shrimp.sng." The rhythm section of William Burnett on bass and Jamie Fisher simply burn on the metallic "Eat First, Ask Questions Later", a heavy tune with big guitar riffs and haunting Mellotron. Fans of more symphonic and jazzy material will love "An Unusual January" and "December Gaze", two songs long on gentle melodies and calmer arrangments. The acoustic "Tapestries" contains some lush arrangements, and the CD closes out with fiery fusion of "Paralysis", a track that comes close to matching the band Planet X in intensity. Burnett's acrobatic bass rumblings and Fisher's nimble fills provide the perfect foil to Anderson's meaty riffs and Durant's symphonic explosions, providing a very enjoyable end to a satisfying album.
With ten hot tracks, there's plenty to dive into here, and plenty of variety to keep most prog fans happy. At times the band comes across sounding like a modern day Finch, which to this reviewer's ears is a good thing. Cyclops has a real winner here!